Doctor Dee on Jazz

Were you to ask Jazz musicians active in and around New York City during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s to describe Pannonica de Koenigswarter, you would get terms like ‘Jazz Baroness’ or ‘Bebop Baroness’ – the ‘Baroness’ was official as she was at one time married to a Baron. She was beloved by – and supported Jazz…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

I met over drinks with some friends recently, one of who was wearing a porkpie hat. We talked about the name, then moved on to the jazz musician with the nickname “Pork Pie Hat’ – saxophone player Lester Young. As we talked about the name, I recalled the Charles Mingus composition “Good-bye Pork Pie Hat”, written as an elegy…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

I’m tempted to call these comments “Sin, Gin, and the Beginnings of Jazz as We Know it”. When the Secretary of the Navy closed Storyville in 1917, musicians looked for other places to play. Chicago became a draw. Joe ‘King’ Oliver took his band there and soon wired Louis Armstrong to join him in 1922.…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

Pianos have been a part of the scene since what we now call Jazz, moved from the streets of New Orleans to the brothels of Storyville. The piano has been the instrument of choice for a number of great names from the past: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

The tag line promoting Jazz Appreciation Month (April, by the way) is: Jazz, born in America, appreciated Worldwide. While that statement is quite true, a huge number of Jazz musicians have been born worldwide. I have the opportunity to see and hear a number that were born and live across our Northern border – one…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

Albert “Tootie” Heath The life of the Jazz musician is a hard one – late hours; days, weeks, months on the road; untold number of hours woodshedding to hone one’s skills – all of which preclude a ‘normal’ family life – and which all too often lead to drugs, alcohol and risky behavior. It’s little…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

Jazz slang or lingo: smokin’, playing the skins, clams, licorice stick, hot licks, jam session, head arrangement, gig, dig, cool – and many, many more. One could easily write an essay on any of them – but I’m going to take a brief look at three here this month; three that seem to me to…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

The ‘Front Line’ was a ubiquitous presence in Jazz from the very early stages at the end of the nineteenth century until the beginnings of Bebop in the 1940’s and demise of Big Bands in the 1950’s. The Front Line is defined as the horns that play in front of the rhythm section. In the…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz Sept 2016

The written histories of Jazz are replete with myth, confusion, misinformation and, occasionally, outright lies. And I am certainly in no position to do it ‘right’; in fact I have no intention of doing the research to even begin the subject. But what have done, and continue to do is to read the various books…

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